During a triathlon in Spain, one racer went the wrong way and another racer was able to get ahead. But once the second racer realized he was able to get in front because of the mistake, he waited for the first racer and let him finish before him.
Diego Méntriga let James Teagle finish in third because “He was in front of me the whole time. He deserved it.” In an essay published by Newsweek, he explained why he gave up a medal.
When Spanish triathlete Diego Méntriga noticed that British triathlete James Teagle went the wrong way before finish line of Santander Triathlon,Mentriga waited for him so he could take what he says is his deserved 3rd place.“He was in front of me the whole time.He deserved it.” pic.twitter.com/5Mo52QZ3rJ— GoodNewsCorrespondent (@GoodNewsCorres1) September 19, 2020
“On September 13, I competed in the Olympic race in the Santander Triathlon,” he writes in the essay, “held in Santander, the capital city of the Cantabria region on Spain’s north coast, which includes a 1500 meter swim, a 40km bike and 10km run.”
He explains that after the cycling part, he was trailing behind Teagle and on the last lap, he sped up and was getting further away from Méntriga. James was close to the finish line and was “running extremely quickly,” Méntriga writes, “But unfortunately, he wasn’t able to take the final turn before the finish line well, and he ran into the fences. At which point I passed him.”
He continues to write, “I then slowed down because I felt that I didn’t deserve third place, it wasn’t the way I wanted to get a position on the podium.
“Although I would have liked to have stood on the podium and had a photo with Javier Gómez Noya and Kevin Tarek Viñuela, who had finished in first and second position respectively, I stopped and I waited for James at the finish line. I wasn’t sad, because I was satisfied with my race, but obviously I was a little disappointed not to stand on the podium as a medal winner.”
He said that after he felt “bittersweet joy” and was reassured by family and friends that he did the right thing.
Many people on social media also agree that he did the right thing after the video was posted on Twitter and Instagram.
“It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.” - Grantland Rice— Ahmad Rafay Alam (@rafay_alam) September 20, 2020
How wonderful of Mentriga to act in the spirit of true sportsmanship. https://t.co/yLJnCR3WMV
Webster’s Dictionary definition of sportsmanship: 👆👆
— FBananapants (@FBananapants) September 19, 2020
Appreciate you restoring faith in humankind(ness) 🕊️
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) September 19, 2020